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Merry Christmas 2018 Dear Poethead Readers ♥

Poetry publishing will resume in January 2019. I will be reading and responding to your submissions in the intervening period. Thank you for your emails, your queries, your support and responses over this year of 2018. As always, the site remains open and accessible. Please visit An Index Of Women Poets and Contemporary Irish Women Poets during the season.  My thanks to Salma Caller, whose wonderful artistic response to my 2018 publications graces this message, her work can be found throughout Poethead. Thanks to the many poets who submitted during 2018. Your tremendous work was an utter joy to read. Thank you for your patience in waiting for publication. I am delighted to have welcomed first-time poets, poet-translators, and work from experienced poets through this past year. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the season. The image accompanying this short post reminds me that in January, the first flowers begin appearing, something wonderful to look forward to.  (Image details) Chris Murray December 2018 Contemporary Irish Women Poets An Index Of Women Poets Recent features on Poethead  …

‘The House That Don Built’ by Kevin Higgins

“The sky is high / We shit on earth / We look up the sky / The earth gives birth / To our future”                                                                     Yoko Ono, Poetry (July/August 2018) (i) The Christmas lights which bat their eyelids all year round on the screaming pink terracotta roof are classy as Demis Roussos’s ground-breaking retranslation of the Odyssey. The gold-plated giant front gate tasteful as the prison raps of Bill Cosby and Orenthal James Simpson combined. The foundation wobbly as the sestina sequence Access Hollywood says, Miley Cyrus, is currently sweating over. The walls and internal supporting beams solid as a verse novel by Big Bird of Sesame Street. The water faucets in the vast bathroom he had purpose built for himself understated as the last line of the Haiku Admiral Tojo wrote the morning he was hanged. (ii) In cases made of …

A Celebration of Women’s Poetry for International Women’s Day 2018

  ‘A History of Love Letters’ by Seanín Hughes   Miss said every time I told a lie, Baby Jesus had a nail hammered into his hand. She said I had a sad mouth, corners downturned, pointing to hell.   Stephen with the p-h had a mouth like sunshine. I gave him a token: a tiny toy dinosaur egg, pale blue and gold. I wrote his name on my hand and hoped the egg would hatch.   My body grew and Granny said, never shave your legs, so I did. Better bald spring chicken; better descaled and plucked bare for boys to touch with their nervous fingers, and work me open.   The one who wrote love letters spilled his entrails in black Bic biro, telling me in no particular order the parts of me he liked best — some illustrated.   When Napoleon begged his Josephine to lay herself bare, he meant for her flaws to fold her into neat and precious squares — for her to be less than his clenched-fist heart could hold.   …

‘When’ and other poems by Alice Kinsella

  Periwinkle (I) Your fingers unveiled the shell, like the unwrapping of a present. Little twirls on the bright jewel found amongst greys, greens, muddied sand. Words whistling through tooth gaps, excitement brought by being somewhere new. Finding me still at home, unchanged, ready to believe any adventure. Curled sunshine shell like the buttercup reflection on your chin, shimmering summer sea surface, as we held our fingers too close to each other’s faces for the first time. The swirl of it, poised to spring, and unravel into something new, something other than the little yellow shell, carried home from your holidays, to share a little of the sunlight with me. Periwinkle was originally published in The Galway Review Tír na nÓg In lieu of history classes we learned legends of warriors, fierce fighting Fianna we were sure lived in our blood. Neart ár ngéag We waved ash branches for swords, flew down hills on steeds with wheels, foraged berries, scaring magpies with screams, cleared the stream in one leap — this was our land. My …

“Slice” and other poems by Umang Kalra

How To Run Away   slowly pry away every hand that wields the nails that dig into your skin, crisscross scratches shaped into dry throats and the taste of dust glistening through humid, hot, sickening summer air sinking into your bones   use your fingers, use your words, unravel the knots that hold your feet in place, that nail your tired, broken skin to the ground that has built your body with its dirt; wipe your fingerprints off every surface you have touched   slit through every string that ties you to these lives that have to bend and break to make room for you, smooth and untouched pieces, clean breaks all over the floor: dust off the empty promises and send them somewhere better   scrunch up every muddy, murky memory into your trembling fist – you exist, and they don’t anymore – keep them safe somewhere in your brain,   for you will need bricks to build a new home   Vagabond   My heartstrings have been knotted carelessly, messily, tightly, into place …